Thursday 6 September 2012

Day Two - At the top of the man made world

Malls, malls and more malls. Dubai is essentially a series of linked shopping malls by 7 lane motorways and metro stations. Okay it's much more then that, but with over 40 malls in this one city, the largest with 1,200+ stores you will find yourself in your element if shopping is your thing. Thankfully mall sightseeing is ours, so we are thrilled.
Outside the Hotel
One of the Swimming Pools at our Hotel
Our hotel complex is based in an area called Festival City, which has it's own shopping mall, the aptly named Festival City Mall, which itself houses a massive IKEA. Nothing in Dubai is small, they dream up something and realise it 5 times bigger and better then anyone else could. Oil is the currency here (for now that is) and a litre sells for less then 20cent.

The view of Downtown Dubai from our Hotel

From our past experiences, the breakfasts at Crowne Plaza are incredible, and our location didn't let us down. After over eating we took in a little stroll around the complex, it's outdoor decks and pools overlooking Dubai Creek and Downtown Dubai. As a city lover the views are paradise. Nothing natural, only man made waterways and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see with the odd sand dune too.
Vinnies Shop

After a quick visit to the Festival City Mall we took a taxi to the nearby Deira City Centre Mall which offers a vast range of US and UK retailers from Marks and Spenser, Boots to American Eagle Outfitters. We couldn't stop ourselves from shopping! Cutting the visit short (around 2 hours) we left via the Metro for The Dubai Mall. 

The metro is a new addition to the city. It runs over two lines and offers three classes of travel. Women get their own class. It travels underground in the city centre, otherwise it's elevated providing interesting views of barren sand wasteland yet to be developed. Looking out you notice no one walks. Everyone gets around in air conditioned cars. It's just impossible to walk around as 1. there are no footpaths 2. there are no pedestrian crossings and 3. it's too warm. After a Metro and Bus ride we arrived at the largest shopping mall in the world (by surface area). It contains some 1,200 shops within 15 separate malls. 
Outside Starbucks!
For your entertainment there is an amusement park, one of the worlds largest aquariums and shark tunnels, a dancing fountain, the largest of it's kind in the world and not forgetting a trip to the 124 observation deck of the world tallest building, the Buraj Kalifa. The main purpose of our visit to the Dubai Mall was our 6pm visit to the Buraj Kalifa. It's worthwhile booking in advance for cheaper and guaranteed time entry tickets to the observation deck. We timed our visit with sunset, a must really. Seeing the sun set over the Arabian Desert is a sight I'll remember for life. The have treated the glass making it safe to look at the sun, which appears as a perfect round orange ball. It's incredible stuff. There are in total 160 floors in this building, measuring 0.829km high (half a mile high).

Vinnie At the Top

The view down to the other skyscrapers

The view down

The Dubai Mall Aquarium

Vinnie in the Souk Area

Dinner time at Vapiano
Afterwards we attempted to visit the entire mall, but after spending 6 hours there we had to admit defeat. The mall is just too big to appreciate it all in one go. We did however manage to see the wonderful dancing fountains, the worlds largest (no surprises there) which runs every 30 minutes from 9pm outside the mall in what is called the Downtown Dubai area.

The Burj Khalifa at night

The Dancing Fountain

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